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Old 08-16-2013   #1
 
Oak Hill, West Virginia
Join Date: Aug 2013
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If you could work anywhere...

Hi All,

I am a guide looking into employment options for the future. If you have opinions about certain rivers and/or outfitters, I would really appreciate hearing them. I have found similar threads, but mostly for new guides and I am hoping for some specific advice.

Although I would like to continue making a comfortable living, what is most important to me is getting hooked up with fair, professional, safe companies. I am happy to work very hard for a quality outfit running quality trips and hope to find a place that believes in going above and beyond for guest service.

I enjoy Class IV-V water, but can be happy on somewhat lighter stuff too. That being said, I would like to avoid doing too many kiddie trips - I would be happy to do some if needed, but have been overloaded on them this year and feel that I sometimes get more than my fair share by virtue of being a 30-something female.

I have worked a few years on the New and Gauley (WV) as well as a couple on the Ocoee (TN) and have my WFR and WRT/SWR. I have a background in education, food/bev, and IT. I can consider any location (providing I can obtain a work visa if it is outside the country) but seem to be gravitating towards Western US.

Thanks in advance for your advice!

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Old 08-16-2013   #2
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 71
I did some rent-a-guiding for All Outdoors in Northern CA, and they ran a very tight ship (no pun intended). I would consider them to be the most respected company in that area, and they run the the little III rivers to the big Vs depending on guiding experience. With your experience, you may want to look into Sierra Mac as well.
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Old 08-16-2013   #3
 
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Poundtown, Wokastan
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Working for an outfitter is a job best suited for the young people. They will always work harder and cheaper! You seem to have some expectation on your career and the only way you will be able to meet then is to become the outfitter you you want to be. That means "start your own business already!"
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Old 08-16-2013   #4
 
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Portland, Oregon
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I'm going to sound like a total fanboy here...but you mentioned safety and professionalism so...

Wet Planet Whitewater on the Salmon River is one of the best, most professional outfits I have come in contact with. They run the Middle White Salmon which is a III+-IV river with a single portagable Class V (or IV+). The river is literally across the street from their headquarters.

But they also run the Farmlands section of the White Salmon, The upper Wind River, the Tieton, Klickitat, The Owyhee and the East and West Forks of the Hood.

(Side note: The West fork of the Hood River is an absolute Classic when its running. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.)

The Owners Todd and Jaco are great people that do a lot in their small communities. There are a number of ex Gauley guides there so you may even recognize a few faces.
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Old 08-16-2013   #5
 
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Durango, Colorado
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If I could work anywhere, I would work everywhere.

www.waterbynature.com/ based in the UK. Trips worldwide. Zambezi, Karnali, Sun Kosi, Zanskar, Futaleufu, Grand Canyon.
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Old 08-16-2013   #6
 
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Boulder, Colorado
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Many outfitters pay little. But some pay well. The trick is finding out where and for whom to work - companies that charge more have the ability to pay better. They might not chose to, but some that want experienced, educated, reliable people will pay better. Guiding in Alaska paid well overall and for the right outfitters the pay was quite nice. $50-60 a trip, 2-4 trips a day (the sun never sets and 4 trips a day is 12-14 hrs), plus tips is fairly normal on the Nenana. If you work for someone like Mountain Travel Sobek doing trips in the Artic $250 a day or more plus tips is normal. $10-12K a summer is very doable. At the right company $15K+ is achievable if you don't mind the hours and are there for the entire season.
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Old 08-16-2013   #7
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Fort Collins, Colorado
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Move to Fort Collins, CO and be done with it already. 5 companies to pick from, tons of great sections on the river. 50-60 a trip plus tips, more for TL and experience, if you are good can be 200-300 a day. Summers are unbeatable, you dont need a car (big savings$$$) ride your bike everywhere, cheap beer, cheap rent, abundant patios, great nightlife, access to NOCO rocky's, probably the best part of the state for low crowds and ease of access into the highcountry if you know where to look. Lakes, mountain bikes, hiking, climbing, more rivers north and south, great kayaking and most importantly a real town with amazing people, breweries, a university, "off" season jobs and did I mention bikes? I know its sweet to travel around to bigger rivers, and follow the water or snow or whatever, you can still do that here, but this is a great place to base out of and eventually stick around and set some roots. Living out of the subi does have its perks, but it gets old after a while too (cant believe I can actually admit that).
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Old 08-16-2013   #8
 
Boulder, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laterwagged View Post
I'm going to sound like a total fanboy here...but you mentioned safety and professionalism so...

Wet Planet Whitewater on the Salmon River is one of the best, most professional outfits I have come in contact with. They run the Middle White Salmon which is a III+-IV river with a single portagable Class V (or IV+). The river is literally across the street from their headquarters.

But they also run the Farmlands section of the White Salmon, The upper Wind River, the Tieton, Klickitat, The Owyhee and the East and West Forks of the Hood.

(Side note: The West fork of the Hood River is an absolute Classic when its running. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.)

The Owners Todd and Jaco are great people that do a lot in their small communities. There are a number of ex Gauley guides there so you may even recognize a few faces.

I second the Wet Planet thing. I have only guided one or two trips for them, but they seem like a great company. The White Salmon river and the Columbia Gorge area is hard to beat. One of the best places in the world to live if you are into kayaking. Long season too. Must be OK with rain if you are going to be there in the Winter.

Working full days on the White Salmon I usually made $200 including tips. Expect half that if you only do one trip a day.

I worked for River Drifters out there as well. Good company too. Lots of rivers to choose from.
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Old 08-16-2013   #9
 
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Denver, Colorado
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Can't beat the upper yough in Garrett county, Maryland. Three or more class 5 releases a week, then you work the cheat in spring and the gauley in fall. Once there is snow on the ground go work at a ski resort; wisp, 7 springs, timberline/cannan/whitegrass, or snowshoe. Endless paddling opportunities too, especially if you'll dawn a drysuit for warm spells in the winter.

It seems like the Western us has very few rafting rivers that run spring, summer, and fall. Beware!
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Old 08-19-2013   #10
 
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Charleston, West Virginny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k2andcannoli View Post
It seems like the Western us has very few rafting rivers that run spring, summer, and fall. Beware!

That's what I was gonna mention. You can't be in a much better spot than you are now as far as year-round river running, but if you want fewer families and now with the BOY SCOUTS (I'm sure you have started getting plenty?) you might have to go to Alaska or Idaho? Maybe Washington/Oregon?
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